by Steve Phipps

Educational Marketing Content Accelerates Sales and Closes More Deals (Here’s How to Do it)

July 11, 2024 | Content Marketing

In today’s competitive market, B2B companies face the challenge of accelerating the sales cycle and closing more deals. When traditional sales tactics fall short, potential customers may feel uncertain and hesitant. This hesitation can lead to prolonged sales cycles, missed opportunities, and lost revenue.

The longer a prospect remains in the decision-making phase, the more likely they are to lose interest or be swayed by competitors. This delay not only frustrates sales teams but also impacts the overall growth and profitability of the business. To avoid these pitfalls, B2B companies should integrate innovative strategies that address these challenges head-on.

What if you could overcome these obstacles by integrating educational marketing content into the buying process? By providing this valuable information on your B2B website, you address potential customers’ concerns and questions, reducing their hesitation and speeding up their decision-making process.

By mapping content to different stages of the sales funnel, qualifying leads with educational materials, creating high-converting content, and implementing effective follow-up strategies, you can transform your sales approach. These steps will drive significant improvements in your sales cycle and close rates. Here’s how to do it 👇

Understanding the Role of Educational Marketing Content in Sales

Before diving into specific tactics, it’s crucial to understand why educational content is so powerful. Modern buyers crave information and control. They prefer to research solutions on their own before engaging with a salesperson. By providing valuable content that addresses their questions and concerns, you position your company as a trusted advisor and resource.

80% of buyers have already made up their minds before they even speak to a sales representative.

Educational content can take many forms, including blog posts, videos, eBooks, and infographics. The key is to ensure this content is easily accessible and addresses the common pain points and questions your prospects might have. For instance, a detailed blog post explaining how your product solves specific problems can be incredibly impactful.

Read More: What Is the Big 5? Your Foolproof B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Mapping Marketing Content to the Sales Funnel

To maximize the impact of your educational marketing content, it’s important to map it to different stages of the sales funnel. Here’s a breakdown of how you can do this effectively as part of your sales content strategy:

  1. Top of the Funnel (Awareness Stage): At this stage, prospects are just becoming aware of their problems and are looking for general information. Content should focus on broad topics that educate and inform. Blog posts, introductory eBooks, and how-to videos are ideal for this stage. For example, a blog post titled “How to Identify the Right Software for Your Business” can attract early-stage prospects.
  2. Middle of the Funnel (Consideration Stage): Here, prospects are evaluating different solutions. Content should be more detailed and specific, helping them compare options and understand the benefits of your offerings. Case studies, comparison guides, and detailed product videos work well. A comparison guide like “Our Software vs. Competitor A: Which Is Better for Your Needs?” can provide clarity for prospects.
  3. Bottom of the Funnel (Decision Stage): At this final stage, prospects are ready to make a decision. Content should address any remaining objections and provide clear calls to action. Demos, testimonials, and detailed FAQs are effective at this stage. A demo video showing real-life applications of your product can tip the scale in your favor.

Read More: Transform Your B2B Website into a 24/7 Sales Machine

Educational Marketing Content Qualifies Leads and Saves Time

One powerful but often underutilized tactic in B2B marketing is using educational marketing content to qualify leads before engaging in sales conversations. This is where the concept of “assignment selling” comes into play. While not widely known by this name, assignment selling involves assigning educational content to prospects to review before a sales meeting.

For example, if a prospect requests a meeting, you could send them a relevant article or video to review beforehand. This not only educates the prospect but also signals their level of interest and commitment. If they engage with the content, they are likely more serious about purchasing. If not, it may indicate they are not yet ready, saving your sales team valuable time.

Let’s say you have a white paper titled “10 Key Benefits of Using Our Solution.” Sending this to prospects before a meeting ensures they are informed and can ask more specific questions, making the meeting more productive.

Creating Sales-Driven Marketing Content That Converts

To create content that effectively moves prospects through the sales funnel, focus on these key elements:

  1. Relevance: Ensure your content addresses the specific needs and questions of your target audience. Conducting surveys and talking directly to your customers can provide insights into their pain points and interests. For example, an FAQ page addressing the top 25 questions your sales team frequently encounters can be highly relevant in a small business marketing context.
  2. Clarity: Content should be easy to understand and free of jargon. Use clear, concise language and break down complex topics into manageable parts. An infographic explaining a complex process can simplify information and make it more digestible.
  3. Value: Provide actionable insights and practical advice that prospects can use immediately. This builds trust and positions your company as a helpful resource. A blog post titled “5 Practical Tips to Improve Your Workflow Efficiency” offers immediate value to readers.
  4. Engagement: Use a mix of content marketing formats to keep your audience engaged. Videos, infographics, and interactive content can be more engaging than text alone. A video series explaining different aspects of your product can keep prospects engaged over time.

Implementing a Follow-Up Strategy

After assigning content to your prospects, it’s essential to follow up effectively. This can be done through a personalized email or a phone call, confirming they have reviewed the material and are ready to discuss further. Here’s an example of how you might structure a follow-up email:

Hi [Prospect Name],
I hope you found the article on [Topic] helpful. I’d love to discuss any questions or thoughts you might have during our call on [Date/Time]. If you haven’t had a chance to review it yet, please let me know, and we can reschedule to ensure our meeting is as productive as possible.
Looking forward to our conversation!
Best, [Your Name]

This approach not only reinforces the importance of the content but also ensures that your prospects are well-prepared for the conversation, leading to more productive meetings.

Measuring the Impact of Educational Marketing Content on Sales

To gauge the effectiveness of your sales content strategy, track key metrics such as:

  • Engagement Rates: Measure how many prospects are engaging with your content. This can include metrics like page views, video watches, and downloads. Tools like Google Analytics can provide detailed insights.
  • Conversion Rates: Track how many prospects move to the next stage of the sales funnel after engaging with your content. Conversion tracking in your CRM can help monitor this.
  • Sales Cycle Length: Monitor whether the use of educational content is shortening your sales cycle. Comparing the sales cycle length before and after implementing this strategy can reveal its effectiveness.
  • Close Rates: Measure the impact on your close rates to see if more informed prospects are converting at higher rates. Higher close rates can indicate that your content strategy is effectively addressing buyer concerns.

Proven Sales Success with Educational Marketing Content

Implementing a robust marketing content strategy can yield significant results, as demonstrated by our work with CRS CPAs, a Tennessee accounting firm. Here are some bottom-line boosting outcomes they experienced using educational content marketing: 

  • 2,400% boost in organic search traffic.
  • 964% increase in monthly website users from 621 to 3,099 in two years.
  • 70% of web traffic comes from content marketing and blogs, compared with 12% initially.
  • More than half of all leads are coming from the website vs. primarily referrals.
  • Best billing month in company history.

Read the full case study: Tennessee Accounting Firm Marketing Strategy Has 2,400% Boost in Organic Search Traffic

Helpful and Informative Content Accelerates Sales

When prospects are better educated and qualified through content, they move faster through the sales funnel, increasing the number of closed deals within a given period. Additionally, well-informed prospects are more likely to make larger purchases, boosting your average deal size and overall revenue.

Integrating educational content into your sales process is a game-changer, speeding up the sales cycle and building trust with your prospects. By following the strategies outlined above, you can enhance your sales outcomes and establish stronger, more productive relationships with your customers. Don’t let your competitors outpace you—take action now to revolutionize your sales approach.

Ready to see these strategies in action? Schedule a discovery call with us today to learn how we can help you implement a powerful marketing content strategy tailored to your business needs.

About Steve Phipps:
Steve Phipps, president of Wayfind Marketing and a certified They Ask, You Answer Coach, brings over 25 years of marketing expertise. His practical, client-focused approach has helped numerous businesses grow. As a former CMO for multiple companies and a Chick-fil-A franchise owner, Steve understands the challenges small business owners face. He leads Wayfind Marketing with a mission to help business owners grow their companies without the usual headaches, emphasizing strategies that position companies as authorities in their field.

FAQ: Using Educational Content in the Sales Process

What is educational marketing content in the context of sales?

Educational marketing content in sales refers to materials designed to inform and educate potential customers about your products, services, and industry. This content can include blog posts, videos, eBooks, infographics, webinars, and white papers. The goal is to provide valuable information that addresses common questions and pain points, helping prospects make informed decisions.

How can educational marketing content help speed up the sales cycle?

Educational content speeds up the sales cycle by addressing prospects’ questions and concerns upfront, reducing the time sales representatives spend answering repetitive inquiries. By providing information early in the buying process, prospects move through the sales funnel more quickly, arriving at purchase decisions faster and more confidently.

What types of marketing content are most effective at each stage of the sales funnel?

  • Top of the Funnel (Awareness Stage): Blog posts, introductory eBooks, and how-to videos that provide general information and address broad topics.
  • Middle of the Funnel (Consideration Stage): Case studies, comparison guides, and detailed product videos that help prospects evaluate different solutions.
  • Bottom of the Funnel (Decision Stage): Demos, testimonials, and detailed FAQs that address any remaining objections and provide clear calls to action.

How can assigning content to prospects improve lead qualification?

Assigning content to prospects, known as “assignment selling,” involves providing educational materials for them to review before a sales meeting. This approach helps qualify leads by gauging their level of interest and commitment. Prospects who engage with the assigned content are more likely to be serious about making a purchase, allowing sales teams to focus on higher-quality leads.

What are the benefits of integrating marketing content into the sales process?

Integrating marketing content into the sales process provides several benefits:

  • Educates Prospects: Helps prospects make informed decisions by providing valuable information.
  • Builds Trust: Establishes your company as a knowledgeable and trustworthy resource.
  • Speeds Up the Sales Cycle: Reduces the time needed to address common questions and concerns.
  • Improves Lead Qualification: Helps identify serious prospects early in the sales process.
  • Enhances Sales Productivity: Frees up sales representatives to focus on high-value activities.

How can sales teams use marketing content to make meetings more productive?

Sales teams can use content to make meetings more productive by:

  • Pre-Meeting Assignments: Providing prospects with relevant content to review before the meeting ensures they are well-informed and ready to discuss specifics.
  • Follow-Up Materials: Sharing content that addresses any questions or concerns raised during the meeting helps reinforce key points and move the prospect closer to a decision.
  • Tailored Presentations: Using content that is specifically tailored to the prospect’s needs and pain points makes the meeting more relevant and impactful.

What is the best way to follow up with prospects who have reviewed educational marketing content?

The best way to follow up with prospects who have reviewed educational content is to:

  • Personalize Your Follow-Up: Reference the specific content they reviewed and ask for their thoughts and questions.
  • Confirm Understanding: Ensure they have understood the material and address any remaining concerns.
  • Schedule Next Steps: Propose the next steps in the sales process, whether it’s another meeting, a demo, or a proposal discussion.

How can you measure the impact of using educational marketing content in sales?

You can measure the impact of using educational content in sales by tracking key metrics such as:

  • Engagement Rates: Monitor how many prospects are engaging with your content (e.g., page views, video watches, downloads).
  • Conversion Rates: Track how many prospects move to the next stage of the sales funnel after engaging with your content.
  • Sales Cycle Length: Compare the length of your sales cycle before and after implementing educational content strategies.
  • Close Rates: Measure the percentage of deals closed to see if more informed prospects are converting at higher rates.

What are the common mistakes to avoid when using content in the sales process?

Common mistakes to avoid when using content in the sales process include:

  • Not Mapping Content to the Sales Funnel: Ensure your content is relevant to the specific stage of the buyer’s journey.
  • Overloading Prospects with Information: Provide concise, targeted content rather than overwhelming them with too much information.
  • Failing to Follow Up: Always follow up to ensure prospects have reviewed the content and to address any remaining questions.
  • Ignoring Metrics: Regularly track and analyze the effectiveness of your content to make data-driven improvements.
  • Using Only One Type of Content: Diversify your content formats to cater to different preferences (e.g., text, video, infographics).

By addressing these questions and avoiding common pitfalls, you can effectively use educational content to enhance your sales process, speed up the sales cycle, and close more deals.

by Steve Phipps

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